Home Artificial Intelligence Chinese tech giant Baidu just released its answer to ChatGPT

Chinese tech giant Baidu just released its answer to ChatGPT

Chinese tech giant Baidu just released its answer to ChatGPT

As expected, Ernie Bot (the name stands for “Enhanced Representation from kNowledge IntEgration;” its Chinese name is 文心一言, or ) performs particularly well on tasks specific to Chinese culture, like explaining a historical fact or writing a standard poem. (Li says as a Chinese company, Baidu “has to perform higher than any pre-trained LLMs” by way of understanding Chinese.) 

However the highlight of the product release was Ernie Bot’s multimodal output feature, which ChatGPT and GPT-4 don’t offer (OpenAI has bragged about GPT-4’s ability to investigate a photograph of the contents of a refrigerator and provide you with recipe suggestions, however the model generates only text). Li showed a recorded interaction with the bot where it generated an illustration of a futuristic city transportation system, used Chinese dialect to read out a text answer, and edited and subtitled a video based on the identical text. Nevertheless, in later testing after the launch, a Chinese publication didn’t reproduce the video generation. 

The Chinese public has been hungry for a ChatGPT alternative; each OpenAI and the Chinese government have barred individuals in China from using the American chatbot.

But up to now, Ernie Bot has been made available only to a particularly select pool of Chinese creators. Corporations can apply for API access. But Baidu has not said whether the technology can be available for consumers. It’s also unclear when the bot can be integrated into Baidu’s other products, like its search engine or self-driving cars, as the corporate promised.

Compared with the rollouts of ChatGPT and GPT-4, Ernie Bot’s release felt rushed. The presentation didn’t feature any live demo but as a substitute used five pre-recorded sessions. Li also repeatedly said that Ernie continues to be imperfect and can improve once it reaches more users. Baidu’s stock price slipped by 6.4% on Thursday, and social media is filled with disillusioned reactions.

Li seemed prepared for such a response. “People have been asking me for some time: Why are you releasing [Ernie Bot] so soon? Are you ready for it?” he said during his presentation. “From what I personally saw when conducting internal tests on Ernie Bot, it’s not perfect. But why do we wish to release it today? Since the market demands it.” 

The race to be the primary

While a number of ChatGPT-style bots have already been released by Chinese corporations or researchers, none of them has shown satisfying results. MOSS, an English-language chatbot developed by Fudan University researchers in Shanghai, was met with such high demand that its server broke down inside a day of launch in late February. It has yet to return. MiniMax, a Chinese startup, released a chatbot called Inspo earlier this month, but it surely has been suspected of merely repackaging the GPT-3.5 model developed by OpenAI.

Many individuals expected that Baidu can be the primary Chinese company to go face to face with ChatGPT. Back in 2019, Baidu released a GPT-3 equivalent—Ernie 3.0. It also released a decently powerful text-to-image model called Ernie-ViLG last 12 months. 


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